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Screenshot via Apple.com

Apple announced a new program Wednesday under which it will take a smaller 15% cut from App Store sales for businesses earning less than $1 million selling their apps, rather than the standard 30% cut.

Why it matters: Apple is under fire from some critics over its rigid App Store policies that require developers to use Apple payment systems for both app sales and in-app payments in exchange for a cut of sales.

How it works:

  • Under the new App Store Small Business Program, launching Jan. 1, developers who made up to $1 million in 2020 for all of their apps, as well as developers new to the App Store, qualify for the reduced rate.
  • Once a participating developer surpasses the $1 million in App Store revenue, the standard commission rate will apply for the remainder of the year. 
  • If a developer’s business falls below the $1 million threshold in a future calendar year, they can requalify for the 15% commission for the following year.

Between the lines: The move comes amid growing criticism from some developer corners as well as heightened interest from antitrust regulators.

  • Fortnite creator Epic is suing Apple (and Google) over their store policies, which have also been criticized by Spotify, Match Group and others.

Our thought bubble: The move should help generate some positive press for Apple and please smaller app makers. But it doesn't really address the concern of developers, such as Epic Games, who want a way to reach iPhone owners without taking part in Apple's payment system.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.